I’ve learned to live with the pain,
with the toxic waste clinging to my lungs, always making it difficult to breathe.
I’ve learned to live with the hustle and bustle of gunshots, sirens, and a world that attempted to convince me that I would not be more than my stereotypes and dirty brown skin.
You see, they did not know that my brown skin glowed from the inside, and that I would one day learn what it meant to fully shine with no barriers. They did not know that when they saw dirt, it was years of scars that I learned to burn off of my own skin.
They tried to chain me, and shove me into a bottle that I do not fit in, that I will never belong in. They tied me up, and threw away the key, assuming that I would be alone and forgotten.
What they did not know was that I was the key.
The key to my own freedom.
I was imprisoned for years by my own fears, self-doubt, and submission. And slowly like a fire dies, so too did I.
Until like a phoenix my conscience awakened, and I burst into flames with the knowledge of my own saving. It was only I who could shatter the bottle and set my soul free.
They tried to limit me with half-truths and lies about my poverty, underestimating the resilience and the drive of my people, of those who have come before me.
When they saw dirty brown skin, they did not know the blood, sweat, and tears of my people. They thought I would lie down and accept the “norms” of our supposed society.
They thought I would bite my tongue and choke on my own voice, as so many have been tortured into doing. But it was the pain and suffering of all those before me who have given me the strength to speak loudly; to sing out to the mountains.
To sing out to the Creator.
You see, what they did not know is that magick runs through my veins, y la sangre de los Indios courses through my whole being.
I am made from estrellas, hierbas, y chiles you’ve never even heard of; from a Pantheon so powerful that your ‘white god’ would tremble before; from a Creator so loving and merciful that your cold-frozen heart would shatter into a million pieces.
I might have once been imprisoned, my fire might have once burned out;
But just as a phoenix dies and is reborn, so too will I be reborn from the flames,
filled with Spirit.